In previous months, we discussed some integrated development environment (IDE) vendors of Web services. We looked at products from IBM, Microsoft, Software AG, HP and Sun, with links to resources for more detail. This month, we will discuss the IBM IDE approach further.

While Microsoft has focused on the development of Web services using an integrated family of products based on .NET, IBM has a set of integrated Web services products that are based on WebSphere and Java. These provide extensive support and generation of all Web services markup languages, including SOAP, WSDL and UDDI as illustrated by Figure 1.

IBM provides extensive support for Web services using WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Studio Application Developer and related products. WebSphere Application Server provides integrated and extensive support for SOAP, WSDL and UDDI. It supports interoperability of business-to-business (B2B) applications and any-to-any connectivity, with transaction management and application integration adaptability. It provides a production-ready Web application server for the deployment of enterprise Web Service solutions for "dynamic e-business." Application development is based on using Sun's Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), with full support for XML.

Figure 1: IBM Web Services Toolkit for Developing Web Services [Source: IBM Corp.]

In 2002, IBM combined the functionality of its recently acquired CrossWorlds Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) engine with WebSphere Application Server and its Eclipse open-source tools project. CrossWorlds shares a common run time with WebSphere, while Eclipse allows developers to mix and match Eclipse-compliant tools in a single environment. IBM has also developed a native XML database capability: Xperanto. The platform support of WebSphere Application Server includes Microsoft Windows NT, Windows 2000, Sun Solaris, HP- UX, IBM AIX, Linux, IBM OS/400, IBM z/OS and IBM OS/390 (as well as Linux for OS/390).

Interoperability is supported between Web services and J2EE applications, enabling solution offerings to be developed for collaboration, B2B, portal server support, content management, commerce and mobile device computing. Connectivity is supported based on J2EE Connector Architecture (JCA), which allows integration with SAP, PeopleSoft, Oracle ERP Financials, J.D. Edwards, IBM CICS, IBM IMS and IBM Host On-Demand applications through the use of corresponding adapters in Figure 2.

Figure 2: IBM WebSphere Application Server Environment Support [Source: IBM Corp.]

WebSphere Application Server is integrated with the IBM WebSphere Studio Workbench, an enhanced development capability that extends the IBM VisualAge for Java development capability further into XML and Web services development. It is based on open standards and provides plug-and-play capability for third-party application development tools.

WebSphere Application Server offers broad support for CORBA and Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) interoperability. CORBA applications can be invoked from an EJB servlet, and EJB components can be invoked from the same CORBA applications. Support is also provided for Microsoft ActiveX integration with J2EE through an ActiveX bridge that makes J2EE classes dynamically available through ActiveX interfaces. For organizations using COM-based technologies such as Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Active Server Pages, this capability offers J2EE connectivity from both ActiveX clients and ActiveX servers.

WebSphere Studio Workbench is a family of development products, each designed for a specific e-business development role or range of roles: WebSphere Studio Site Developer, WebSphere Studio Application Developer, and WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer. Task-oriented perspectives filter out complexity and present only those functions that are relevant to the specific task. Developers can switch perspectives depending on what they are developing or analyzing and their role in a development project. The WebSphere Studio Workbench family supports the following technologies:

  • Java Server Pages (JSP) development, which extends Web server functionality to create dynamic Web content. JSP supports rapid development of server- and platform-independent Web applications.
  • Servlet development, as server applications that execute within a Web application.
  • Web services development, as self-contained modular applications that can be described, published, located and invoked over the Internet or within intranets.

WebSphere Studio Site Developer offers Web-site development capabilities, which include: Web services generation wizards, Java Server Page (JSP) servlet creation, team development support, XML tools, database wizards, a core Java IDE and Web page creation wizards with dynamic effects.
WebSphere Studio Application Developer was released in November 2001 for professional developers of Java and J2EE applications, requiring integrated Web, JSP, XML and Web services support. It includes the aforementioned support for WebSphere Studio Site Developer plus additional support for EJB creation and deployment, and performance profiling and analysis tools. More extensive enterprise support is available in a third WebSphere Studio Workbench edition: WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer.

Next month we will discuss the Web services IDE approaches used by Software AG and HP.

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